Friday, July 4, 2008

Of log books and law judges

Problems of infrequent and substandard veterinary care were disclosed in the 2007 city audit of the carriage horse industry, and so was poor record-keeping. Here's a neat example of both.

In July 2007, a carriage driver escaped an inhumane treatment charge, but was fined $200, after a Department of Consumer Affairs inspector noticed an open wound on the withers (the area between the shoulder blades) of a working carriage horse, in violation of city rules that prohibit working a horse with an open wound. The driver helped his case, apparently, by testifying that he had discovered the wound in the stable after a day's work, and that he immediately dressed the wound and took the horse out of service. However, the driver's testimony could not be confirmed by his log book entries.

Based on testimony, an administrative law judge dismissed the inhumane treatment charge. But because the judge found that the driver had not consistently entered in his log book the times he had returned the horse to the stable, the driver was fined $200. [Violation # LL5047122]

The audit had plenty to say about the disturbingly bad record-keeping. Hmm. I wonder why they do that? The drivers--and the industry's public relations machine--keep saying that the industry is a pretty tight ship. What would be the advantage of keeping poor records of the horses' shifts and their physical ailments (including open wounds)? This from an industry that wants more self-regulation. Shameful.

And what about that driver I saw fairly galloping a horse July 4th on Central Park West? Mr. Carriage Driver (whose name I won't share here), you know it's illegal, don't you? It would be great if the ASPCA had more than a handful of humane law officers, and if the police would do their jobs and enforce the carriage industry laws, and if the Department of Health would do its job in minding this business. The latter surely won't happen, given that Linda Gibbs of the DOH is married to Thomas McMahon, whose lone associate in his firm is a carriage industry lobbyist. All of which is an embarrassing conflict of interest. It's junior high school politics. Except it's real life in my city.
Read: Political Entrenchment 101 (HorseWatchNYC)
See a recap of the audit of the industry and read the NYC Comptroller's News Release (2007)
Familiarize yourself with the laws pertaining to the industry and the horses' treatment

No comments: